Master of Business Administration
Mount Saint Mary's College
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Research Associates for Project Management

The primary focus of the Research Associates for Project Management Concentration Program, centers on “Project Management” activities and the continued development of the MBA “Project Management Concentration” program. Participants have the opportunity to acquire specific experience within each PM Process Group with the goal to accumulate the required hours to qualify for the Project Management Professional (PMP)

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Nicholas Connell

Nicholas Connell is an energetic, ambitious young professional who has developed a true passion for all things project management. Nicholas works for the Southern California Gas Company in the Energy Savings Assistance Program as an Energy Specialist. In this position, he carries out a multitude of organizational projects and instructs energy efficiency policy and procedure classes for both internal and external parties. He holds an MBA from MSMC and is a Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) by the Project Management Institute. Nicholas, an accomplished musician, currently resides in Hollywood, where he enjoys writing and playing music in his free time. If you would like to get in contact with Nicholas, he can be reached via email at: or via LinkedIn at:



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Irene M. Gasco

Irene M. Gasco received her undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College in psychology with a minor in mathematics. She earned her Masters in Business Administration from Mount St. Mary's College last December. Irene was given the Outstanding Academic Achievement Award in recognition of her academic excellence in the graduate program. She became interested in Project Management during the core curriculum and chose that to be her concentration. As part of her capstone project, she was able to apply many of the skills that she was learning through the final semester. By the end of 2012, Irene had earned her MBA as well as received her Certified Associate in Project Management. She is currently active in her church, serving as a deacon and as a member of the Pastor Nominating Committee.



Jonathon Hicks

Jonathon Hicks

Jonathon Hicks holds the Project Management Professional (PMP) credential from the Project Management Institute. He has been directing and working on projects for fifteen years and is passionate about furthering the field of project management. After receiving his Bachelors in Comparative Religious Studies from California State University at Northridge, he spent two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in West Africa. He earned his MBA from Mount St. Mary's in December 2010 with a focus on Organizational Leadership. 

 In 2012, he returned to the Mount to help develop and launch the MBA Project Management Concentration program in 2013. Jonathon continues as a lead Research Associate for Project Management Concentration supporting the MBA faculty, and the PM Concentration lead professors in the enhancement and further development of  the PM Concentration lecture material. Jonathon has served as a Co-Professor teaching an introductory class in Project Management in the Weekend College and provides lecture support to the Project Management lecture series.  

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Trisha Llanes

Trisha Llanes is currently a Project Manager at Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP) managing organizational projects that align with the company’s mission and strategy.  She recently completed an MBA program with a concentration in Project Management and graduated with honors. She earned her Project Management Professional (PMP) certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI) and is continually committed to project quality and excellence in execution. She is passionate about project management and strives for continuous improvements to enhance her ability to serve others.





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Arielle I. Mandell

Arielle Mandell has 7+ years of experience in the wealth management financial and non-profit industries. She earned her Master’s in Business at Mount St. Mary’s College, and her undergraduate Bachelor of Science in Business, Marketing at Cal Sate University, Northridge. She is a Certified Associate of Project Management and holds her Personal Financial Planner certification from UCLA. Ms. Mandell actively serves on the board as Vice President and Chair of the Program and Facilities for The Boys and Girls Club of Venice. In this role, she continues to develop and implement programs and fundraising initiatives to enhance the opportunities for disadvantaged youth.





Gabriela Perez

Gabriela Perez is a digital marketing professional specializing in Search Engine Marketing. Throughout her career, she has specialized in providing advertising solutions, marketing strategies, and managed projects for small to medium businesses as part of organizations such as MatchCraft LLC, Sequoia Productions, Yahoo!, Pepsi Bottling Group, and Farmer’s Insurance.

Gabriela has earned her Master’s Degree in Business, with a concentration in Project Management and is a Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM). Previously, Gabriela earned her Bachelor of Science from San Diego State University with a degree in Business Administration, Integrated Marketing Communications and a minor in Spanish.

Gabriela currently supports MSMC faculty with the continued development of the MBA “Project Management Concentration” program through the Research Associates Program. She is also an active member of the Los Angeles PMI chapter. Gabriela plans to utilize her marketing and project management expertise to continue furthering her career in marketing, project management, and event planning. 

Brianna Quintanar

Brianna Quintanar is a determined, innovative, and passionate young professional with a background in community development and event planning.  She currently works for the City of Inglewood in the Finance Department, carrying out multiple projects simultaneously. Brianna holds her MBA from MSMC and is a Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM®) by the Project Management Institute. She looks forward to applying her educational and professional experience to grow in the Project Management profession, working toward her Project Management Professional (PMP®) credential. Brianna is an active member of the SDSU Alumni Association- Los Angeles Chapter, as well as an active member of her community in Los Angeles, where she resides. If you would like to contact Brianna, she can be reached via email at: or via LinkedIn at:



Totran Radke

Totran Radke is a creative, solutions-focused and results-oriented professional with a background in Marketing, Advertising and Market Research. Currently, she is an Email and Social Media Marketing Manager at Roll Global, leading the marketing strategy for the Teleflora brand at Roll Global. In 2010, she started Open-Opportune, a full-service marketing and design consulting company dedicated to helping small businesses. Radke received her MBA with Sigma Beta Delta Honor Society distinction from Mount St. Mary’s College, Certificate of Project Management (CAPM) from the Project Management Institute, and B.A in Political Science from UCLA.  Radke has accepted the Research Associate role at Mount St. Mary’s College and is looking forward to working with Professor Huddleston and applying her educational and professional experience to grow the Project Management field in the MBA Program. Radke is currently an active member of the MBA Alumni Professionals (MAPs) at MSMC and is the Chair, Emeritus of the UCLA Fund Young Alumni Development Council and have served as the Chair, Vice-Chair of Marketing and West Los Angeles Regional Chair over the years. She is passionate about fostering alumni loyalty that translates to philanthropic results. 

Maria Real

Maria Real

Maria Real holds an MBA from Mount St. Mary College, completed in 2010 along with a BS in Film from the International Fine Arts College based in Miami. She also holds a CAPM, Certified Associate in Project Management awarded through the Project Management Institute, and is currently working toward her CPA.

With 9 years’ experience in accounting, Maria Real brings a sophisticated and process-orientated approach to companies in which she has worked. She has experience ranging in industries like Healthcare to Life Insurance to Technology. Maria has excelled in AP, AR, Fixed Assets, Business Tax filings, Business Operations and Project Management.

Currently, Maria is an AP Accountant at Cornerstone OnDemand (NASDAQ: CSOD), a leading provider of Human Capital Management Software. For the last 3 years, she has spent her weekends running the accounting for Christian Family Network, a $2M family operated company with 6 entities spanning across the western region of the US. As part of her volunteer work, Maria Real served 3 years in the Board of Mount St. Mary’s College MBA Alumni Association (MAPs). During her tenure she created and served as editor of a successful bi-yearly newsletter, spearheaded a series of events aimed at connecting alums and current students, and helped establish a scholarship program to benefit deserving students in MSMC’s MBA program.

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Rana Saab

Rana Saab is currently a District Manager for Starbucks where she manages and directs the overall operations and profitability of 11 store locations. During her undergraduate career, she majored in Biology at California State University Northridge. Her academic goals continued as a graduate student at Mount St. Mary’s College where she was awarded a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and was certified by the Project Management Institute (PMI®) as a Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM®). She will be working towards attaining her Project Management Professional (PMP®) certification because she "appreciates how valuable it is in our ever-changing business world." In her free time she enjoys reading leadership books, being in the outdoors, and helping out in her community.